Returning to the hobby, new tank setup - The Planted Tank Forum
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-28-2014, 02:35 AM Thread Starter
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Returning to the hobby, new tank setup

Hi all,

I'm returning to both fishkeeping and planted tanks after a few years in mothballs, due to the wedding/house/baby trifecta. The goal is pretty simple this time around: To have a nice, enjoyable planted tank that's relatively simple to maintain, but offers plenty of learning opportunities for my now 2yo.

Here's what I've got so far, plan-wise. Any additions, corrections, or clarifying questions are welcome. Thanks for your help!

40g breeder
dwarf cichlid community tank

Lighting:
Current Satellite Plus 36-48"
This would, based on the PAR values and observations I researched here at Planted Tank, put me pretty securely in the low end of medium light range. Previously, this tank was setup with a medium-high light T5 fixture (~2.5w/g) and CO2 injection. I'm not interested in going that level of light/co2 this time around, due to the resulting increased maintenance, algae, and electricity bills. Not with a 2yo and another on the way.

Substrate:
60lbs eco-complete
This is probably a bag light. I might add another bag of ecocomplete or (cheaper) small, inert gravel should the aquascaping needs not be covered effectively by 3 bags.

Aquascape:
Dutch-ish. I have several nice pieces of driftwood, some that would offer caves to the cichlids. There's also a castle (i know, but I need to work with a 2yo). I think it might actually work very well as a cave. We'll see.

Plants:
Not determined, but I'll select plants that do well in low/medium light. Basically, the lowlight standards, plus a few more that should fare pretty well in these conditions.

Fish:
2x small cichlids (rams, kribs, apistos, etc.)
12-18x smallish schoolers
6x otos or 4x SAEs

That's give or take... i have a few ideas involving dwarf cichlid planted community tanks. there are south american, african, and mixed community variants at the moment. Availability may be a deciding factor. suggestions on where to source quality stock without spending an arm and a leg would be appreciated.

I'd plan to dose Flourish, rather than going full C02. I'd lean on the eco-complete early on, but do have all the needed chemicals to dose, should additional iron, mg, etc. be needed.

That's it. Thoughts?

Last edited by modernhamlet; 02-28-2014 at 03:37 AM. Reason: spelling
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 12:53 AM Thread Starter
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Too long, didn't read?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 01:16 AM
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Congrats on the getting a life part, oh and welcome back to the hobby.

I'm not sure how Dutch-ish of a scape it can be without more colorful plants and increased lighting/CO2 to get them colored up. I'd probably go with nature scape. Lots of easy greens, maybe a dash of easy reds like red tiger lotus and alternanthera reinikii 'mini'.

Excel would be great, but if you want a more inexpensive liquid carbon, you can use Glut (like metricide 14). You can Google it... It's like generic excel and much cheaper. I'd dose a comprehensive micro and macro fert regimen. I like PPS-Pro (from GLA).

Everything else sounds cool. Did you buy the tank already?


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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 03:41 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah. I've had the tank for years. 40 breeder is just a great size. I have a 75g as well, but not really the room or the budget to do it right.

Good point on the needing high light/co2 for Dutch. I wasn't thinking so much about the color variety of Dutch as layout... tiering and bunching. You're right, it'll probably end up looking jungle-y anyway!

And thanks for the tip on Glut. I'll look it up...
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 03:58 AM
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Tiering and bunching is good. I could be wrong, when I think of Dutch, I just think major contrasting colors. Maybe you can go hybrid... take the tiering and bunching aspects and go with various greens... dark and light contrasts. Darks like fissidens, flame moss, mini pelia. Then lights like hydrocotyle sp. japan, blyxa, HM, rotala sp. green, etc. Then there's the aforementioned 'easy' reds... AR mini, tiger lotus, and ludwigia sp. red.


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2014, 07:32 PM Thread Starter
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Excellent. That sounds like a great approach. And one the fish, the family, and my wallet should appreciate.

I plan to start setting things up on Tuesday, and will try to take some pics to show my progress.

Thanks for your help, Brian.
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